Hollywood Dreams Henry Jaglom

When we first meet Margie Chizek (Tanna Frederick), she’s failing at an audition. First she cries, then she fluffs the monologue she’s prepared, then she explains how bad she wants to be a star. For a moment, the film is on the knife’s edge of satire and annoyance, and we wonder if this isn’t just a prologue to the real action of Hollywood Dreams. No such luck; we’re then hardwired into the supremely flustered protagonist’s world and it’s simply too much to bear. After that disastrous audition, she manages to meet a Hollywood bigwig walking his dog and suddenly finds herself in proximity to Robin (Justin Kirk), an up-and-coming movie actor who’s publicly posing as gay. In what must be some kind of acid flashback on the part of the writer/director, it’s decided that Robin’s coming out as straight will hurt his career and thus Margie is tempted with a career of her own if only she’ll drop her new beau. You can see early on that nothing in Henry Jaglom’s film is going to ring true but that might have been pleasant if the character of Margie wasn’t so in love with tiresome histrionics — as represented by the wildly overacting Frederick, she’s so unhinged that she makes even the fantasy that surrounds her seem at best flimsy and at worst a brutal attack on the nervous system. It’s impossible to sympathise with her in any way, a matter compounded by the ridiculous back-story the movie creates for her and the limp psychodrama it builds around it. And despite the presence of Karen Black and The Sopranos’ David Proval, none of the actors are able to create belief in the tired daydream on offer here. Flee in terror. (Rainbow)